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RUAG’s Journey to Becoming a Top Tier Aerospace Supplier

6 November

Headland Admin

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Manufacturing key components for the Defense and Aerospace industries, RUAG Australia demonstrates a unique combination of capabilities which brings together the best of Swiss precision and Australian innovation for proven, reliable, affordable, and sustainable aircraft life cycle support. RUAG currently operates manufacturing, surface treatment, and maintenance facilities throughout Australia, with two production sites in Victoria, one in Queensland, one in New South Wales, and one in South Australia, the latter focusing on chemical processing and surface finishing.

The Challenge

RUAG Australia’s Bayswater manufacturing site is the Defence supplier’s hydraulic center of excellence, manufacturing the F-35 uplock actuator system for the F35 global supply chain.

One of the key criteria for RUAG Australia being part of this program is that they assure and maintain their delivery capability.

Matthew Oakley, Production Engineering Manager at RUAG Australia, elaborates:  “We need to sustain 100% on-time delivery with zero defects.”

In order to fulfill their customers’ expectations in terms of reliability in manufacturing excellence and the on-time availability of the components, RUAG needs to rely on the right machinery for optimising their production processes. They also recognised that the system they chose to invest in needed to sustainably support their fully automated manufacturing process, thereby ensuring streamlined production and consistent high-quality components.

Makino a61nx

Makino a61nx

The Solution

Headland had a specific brief to fulfill when it came to RUAG Australia’s selection criteria – where optimising their production facility with top-performing machines was a priority.

In order to maintain RUAG’s stringent on-time risk ratio, Makino CNC machinery became the obvious choice based on their reputation for being highly reliable, accurate machines. The Makino a61nx, Makino a81nx, and Makino PS105 featured amongst the machines installed.

Makino was an optimal fit for RUAG as well, given that the machinery proves a high rate of accuracy in their production of metal components.

“With our Makino a61nx, the rejection rate is projected at only one part in three hundred trillion. So imagine what that means for our production and inspection processes? With this kind of accuracy, we are able to fully achieve customer expectations within the given budget and personnel allowances,” confirms Oakley.

Analysing their business’s need to prioritize the automation of the production process identified another crucial requirement – storage. Hanel Vertical Lean-Lifts were the best fit for housing finished and spare parts.

“Our Hanel machines allow us to house our finished parts and spare parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program efficiently, requiring less space and less time to retrieve. The overall savings we realize with these vertical storage machines is incredible. Instead of five people working in this area, we need only two, and are able to assign more of our specialists to the truly labour intensive areas of our site,” states Oakley.

Hanel Vertical Lean Lift

Hanel Vertical Lean Lift

The Results

Having implemented more than seven Makino milling machines to date, as well as Hanel automated storage systems, the RUAG Australia team is very satisfied with the results. One of the key benefits for them is the significant amount of time saved – allowing their workers to get on with more value-added work, highlighting the efficiency of the production facilities in place.

As well as increased efficiency, accuracy, and the higher amount of time available to staff for more productive tasks, RUAG also takes into account a key benefit from choosing to work with Headland – the unbeatable service.

“Makino machines are utilized for the machining of all our F-35 bay door drive system components. Most of these Makino machines operate at a rate of two shifts per day. If and when these machines would stop working, we would need to have them serviced immediately and that’s why we choose to work with Headland,” says Oakley.

Headland prides itself on great service

Headland prides itself on great service

About RUAG Australia

RUAG possesses outstanding technological capabilities in aerospace as well as security and defence. In 2018 RUAG generated net sales of CHF 1,998 million, of which 62% was earned outside the Swiss home market. 56% of RUAG’s products and services are destined for the civil market and 44% for the military market. The Group is headquartered in Bern (Switzerland). It has sites in Switzerland and in 14 other countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia-Pacific. Technological know-how and wide-ranging professional capabilities are key factors in success of RUAG. To continually meet the demand among its customers and partners for unusual innovations, RUAG invests roughly 9% of sales in research and development. Learn more.

Discover more about RUAG Australia